Calls for a second independence referendum have been on the rise within Scotland over the last year, led by the SNP. Nicola Sturgeon – leader of the Scottish National Party and Scottish First Minister – claims Scotland’s support for staying in the EU means it has drifted from the rest of the UK. She believes this warrants Scotland the chance to hold another independence vote, despite it being only a few years since the country’s last ‘once-in-a-generation’ 2014 vote, where Scots voted to remain in the UK.
Yet, some unionists fear support for independence will continue to grow. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rejected Ms Sturgeon’s calls for ‘indyref2’, but the Scottish First Minister is still pushing and announced this week that she is jetting off to Norway to discuss “deepening” the relationship between their two nations.
Scotland has had increasing autonomy ever since Mr Blair promised to grant both Scotland and Wales referendums on devolution in his 1997 electoral manifesto.
After securing 56 Labour seats in Scotland out of the 59 available, 34 out of 40 in Wales, and claiming his seat in No.10, Mr Blair granted both countries referendums on whether the electorate would like a devolved assembly – both voted in favour.
However, in an interview with Charles Clarke and Toby James, relayed in The Telegraph in 2015, he said: “I did feel that we made mistake on devolution.
Tony Blair and Nicola Sturgeon (Image: Getty)
Blair in office in 1997 (Image: Getty)
“We should have understood that, when you change the system of government so that more power is devolved, you need to have ways of culturally keeping England, Scotland and Wales very much in sync with each other.
“We needed to work even stronger for a sense of UK national identity.
“But I don’t accept the idea that we should never have done devolution.
“If we had not devolved power, then there would have been a massive demand for separation – as there was back in the 60s and 70s.”
READ MORE: Sturgeon’s independence bid shut down by Scottish councillor
Debate over Scottish independence (Image: Express.co.uk)